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How To Leash-Train a Dog

Unless your dog is free to roam the wide-open spaces, he's going to have to get used to a leash once in awhile.


  • Step 1: Increase your distances each day. Use the stop-stand-still method as needed, and praise your pup whenever the leash goes slack. Change directions frequently to keep him on his toes.
  • Step 2: Be patient! While both you and the dog may get frustrated with the stop-stand-still routine, it's the best way to teach the dog that pulling doesn't work.
  • TIP: If you have a large or very strong dog, a training collar may work great for you. Ask your vet for a recommendation.
  • FACT: The heaviest dog ever weighed 319 pounds.
  • Step 3: Work on leash-training for a few days before bringing your pooch outside. Once outside, continue to walk him just as you did indoors: Always stop if he pulls.
  • Step 4: Keep your voice and manner cheerful, and pour on the praise. You want the dog to think that having a leash is fun, not a chore!
  • TIP: "Retractable" leashes—the kind that can extend themselves when your dog pulls on them—are not good for leash training. Use a sturdy traditional leash instead.
  • Step 5: Start the training indoors, where the surroundings won't be as exciting and the dog won't get as distracted.
  • Step 6: Walk him slowly around a small area. If he pulls on the leash, stop and stand still. As soon as he stops pulling and the leash slackens, praise him and walk in the direction he wanted to go.
  • Step 7: Try walking in different directions over and over. If the dog tries to get ahead of you, immediately change directions. Give him plenty of praise whenever he stops pulling and just walks along next to you.
  • Step 8: Tell your dog to "sit" before you fasten the leash to his collar. Make sure he obeys the command before you start walking with him.

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